Living and growing up in any single city in the world is impactful on how you run and work for a business. I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. For anyone that calls Edmonton home, they know that the city can be full of life in the summer, but slowly runs out of things to do through the winter months. As a result, many people focus on working through the snowy months and then plan adventures after the spring melt through the fall transition. My point is, that we get into a routine, doing the same thing year after year and then use words like "that's normal" or "it is just the way things are" to rationalize our life and business processes.
The truth is, I was one of those people. Blinded by a single city culture and way of doing things, simply accepting of the "way things are". As a result, being open to new business opportunities outside was not something I spent much time thinking about. They were seen as "out of the comfort zone" and too risky to undertake.
Over the last couple of years I have had the privilege to travel for work. This has helped me expand my way of thinking about the world and business. It is cliche to say, but the world is truly a big place, with much too see and learn. I found power in travelling for business and I wanted to share a couple reasons why.
1. Travelling for business crushes routine burnout.
We are all creatures of habit in some way. Routines lead to boredom and that fidgety feeling of wanting to do something. When travelling, time changes and daily routines are disturbed by the travel schedule, opening you up to replace the feeling of boredom with excitement, and maybe a bit of fear. Fear is not always bad though, it helps keep you aware and learning from your surroundings
2. An understanding that your way, is not always the right way.
Through travels you quickly learn that different places and cultures do some things more efficiently then we do. I like to keep my eyes open for examples of this and note them down. Just search "what each country does well in business" and a million examples come up; however, seeing the operation with your own eyes adds a level of credibility and understanding to the concepts.
3. Expand your business network.
If you are involved in business and sales, this one is obvious. Relationships are absolutely essential to business activities; however, it can be hard to make new ones when you are surrounded by the same people every day. While traveling, you can meet people on the plane, at the local pub, at a trade conference and pretty much anywhere else.
4. A balanced mix of work and leisure.
Take time to mix in some sightseeing activities. No matter where I go I like to plan an extra day or two to tour around, especially if visiting a location for the first time. This goes a long way to equalize the work life balance, but also provides tremendous value to experiencing other cultures. Through this experience you will be able to bring new ideas to your businesses.
5. Stories to tell.
The world is not boring, rather the opposite. No matter where you go, it is almost a guarantee that you will learn and experience new ideas, food, habits and culture. These experiences turn into stories to help you connect with more people, most of which you will never forget.
6. Globalize your business.
The world is becoming more and more globalized. No longer is it the norm to operate a business within a single city or area. Technology has allowed us to connect easier, to move money easier and to travel quicker. If you have a business that is scalable across country borders, it can be worth considering expanding your outreach.
Travelling for business will open up your mind to new concepts and help bring new ideas to your organization. Even within your own country, each city-to-city will have unique nuances to learn from. Keep your eyes wide, and your mind open, you never know what you will learn.